Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shuttle Atlantis Countdown Rehearsal Today

NASA issued the following press release today written by Cheryl Mansfield:

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida this morning, the four Atlantis astronauts will put on their bright orange launch-and-entry suits and travel to Launch Pad 39A aboard the Astrovan, just as they will on launch day a couple of weeks from now. Once at the pad, they will climb into space shuttle Atlantis for their countdown dress rehearsal.

The crew members will wrap up their on-site training today at Kennedy before departing from the Shuttle Landing Facility for the flight back to their home base at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. At Johnson, they'll continue their training for the final space shuttle flight, the STS-135 mission to the International Space Station. The targeted launch date of July 8 will have the crew returning to Kennedy on July 4.

Work at the launch pad continues as technicians are scanning the bottom portions of the stringers on Atlantis' external fuel tank, and no issues have been found. A mass spectrometer external leak check of the shuttle's engine No. 3's main fuel valve was completed, and technicians now are installing insulation. A full retest of the valve is set for this weekend.